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The Florida Times-Union: Floridians must prepare for hurricane season

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Florida is on a hot streak.

I’m talking about hurricanes.

The Sunshine State has now gone a record nine years without a land-falling hurricane of Category 3 or higher.

As we approach the beginning of the 2015 hurricane season on June 1, it is easy to have a false sense of security.

But Florida will get hit again. And we will get hit hard. And Floridians need to be prepared.


Forecasters are predicting another fairly calm hurricane season with an estimated seven named storms, including three hurricanes and one major hurricane. But it only takes one major storm to cause catastrophic damage.

Floridians should use this time wisely and prepare now for hurricane season.

Consult with your insurance agent to make sure you have the right amount of property coverage and organize your insurance documents.

Ask if you should consider purchasing flood insurance. Most homeowners’ policies do not cover flooding, and a policy must be purchased separately.

Create or update your family’s personal emergency plan, including information about where to go if you must evacuate.

Have a plan to prepare your property.

Make sure you have some cash on hand and at least a half tank of gas in your car in case an approaching storm makes a quick turn.

Purchase a weather radio, so you can track a storm even if power goes out.


Just as residents prepare for hurricane season, so does the insurance industry.

The Florida property insurance market is moving in the right direction.

Consumers are finding it easier to purchase insurance in the private market, and insurance rates are stabilizing after years of inflation.

The state-created Citizens Property Insurance has made significant progress in reducing their number of policy holders and achieving financial stability.

Citizens has reduced their policy count from 1.5 million to about 600,000 and has come back from a deficit of $1.8 billion in 2005 to a surplus of $7.4 billion at the end of 2014.

The so-called “hurricane tax” has been lifted from home and auto insurance bills, and the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund is the strongest it has ever been.

In the event Florida is hit by a hurricane and homeowners experience damage to their property, contact your insurance agent first and do not fall victim to individuals preying on families who have suffered a loss.

Unscrupulous third-party companies will try to convince homeowners to sign over their insurance benefits in order to proceed with the repair work.

Legislation addressing Assignment of Benefits abuse died this past session. But it will remain a high priority for the insurance industry in 2016.

As the 2015 hurricane season quickly approaches, we urge you to get ready now.

Logan McFaddin is regional manager of state government relations for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

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